Improving spatial water information through data assimilation

Up-to-date spatial water information and forecasts are tremendously valuable for farmers, land and water managers, emergency services, and many other users. For example, to assess crop and pasture growing conditions, soil mechanical properties and fire risk.
Computer models, satellite remote sensing and station measurements all provide valuable information on the water cycle. The best possible up-to-date information and forecasts are derived by combining these data sources through data assimilation: a set of data integration tools that is already used in weather forecasting.
We are working closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to improve the operational water information produced by their Australian Water Resources Assessment (AWRA) system. Together, we are developing practical data assimilation techniques to blend satellite observations, for example relating to soil moisture, total water storage and evapotranspiration, as well as station observations of river flows.